Getting Ready for the Maccabiah Games

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Some of my Team USA gear!

I found out in October that I was accepted into the 19th Maccabiah Games! WOW was I excited! I thought to myself, July is just SO far away!  The Maccabiah games are an international Jewish athletic event, held in Israel every four years, also known as the “Jewish Olympics.” This year there will more than 1,100 American athletes and about 8,500 athletes from 82 countries. I didn’t even know there were Jewish people  in India, Zimbabwe, Mongolia, China, Japan, along with a few other surprising countries!

Since finding out I have thought about the games during every workout and it has really motivated me to train hard and give it my best daily. During the school year I woke up anywhere from 4:15 to 5:15 in the morning to train, and most days completed another workout after teaching all day.

My students thought I was pretty crazy, but my first period class got used to seeing the goggle lines on my face three times a week, and would always ask about my workouts and upcoming races. My 6th period class was pretty good at distracting me from my lesson by asking questions about my training and triathlons. I told them I could talk about it all day, and we had to get back to math! A few kids even made up a song about me to the tune of Gangnam Style. It went something like this “Ms. Dana style, swim, swim, swim, swim,swim, swim, bike, bike, bike, run, run, run run, run, Ms. Dana style. They even had hand motions!

I will be leaving in 2 days, on July 10th,  and I can’t believe how time just flies! I am REALLY excited and feel well prepared. I have done 5 triathlons this season and gained more racing experience. I have been training hard since January and been extremely dedicated (didn’t miss any workouts). No matter what happens, I know there is nothing more I could have done! I need to remember everything I have learned and endured in  my 2 years as a triathlete. I need to remain confident that I am prepared and ready! The trip will be an experience of a lifetime, and I will have the opportunity to meet other Jewish athletes from all over the world!

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Marc is the best

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Finishing strong a few weeks ago a Rev3 Williamsburg

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Super Athletes!!

A huge shout out to my fiance Marc who has been SO incredible supportive throughout this journey! He let me keep my bike on the trainer in the living room of our 1 bedroom apartment, and dealt with my alarm going off hours before his!  Thanks SO MUCH  District Hardware- The Bike Shop for my awesome bike, helmet and continued encouragement! I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for all that you have done for me! Thanks to Coach Debi for your advice and awesome workouts! Lastly, thanks to the Super Athletes (Sandra, Alberto, Guillermo and Annette) for being amazing training buddies and even better friends! I hope to make you all proud at the games!

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Thanks for being an AMAZING sponsor!

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Race #5 of the Season: General Smallwood International Triathlon

I am really behind on my race reports, and this one is completely out of order! General Smallwood was my 5th triathlon of the season. I have been racing almost every other weekend since May, and loving every second of it!

This was my last race before the Maccabiah Games, and I thought it would be a good idea to simulate the heat I would experience in Israel.

I woke up at 4:15 this morning and was out in the door in about 10 minutes. I felt really well rested because I went to bed at 8:00! I listened to nice calming music in my car and thought about each part of the race. Before I knew it I had arrived at the race site. Waiting in line to pick up my race packet I met a really nice girl who lives around the corner from me. I love making new friends at races! 

I had plenty of time to set up my transition area and check out the swim course. I heard that the water was 87 degrees, it went up 5 degrees from yesterday. I jumped in for a nice easy warm-up and was feeling good. I was expecting a bath tub, but it was actually pretty refreshing!

Before I knew it the horn went off for my wave. I didn’t want to start out too fast, but I was feeling great! There were no major currents or waves, and the course was very well marked with sighting buoys. I usually just breathe to my right side in races, but every time I took a breath I got blinded by the sun, and it became hard to sight the buoys, so I did more breathing on the left side for the first part of the race. I felt smooth and great, and before I knew it I could see the squiggly yellow man indicating the swim exit. I thought I definitely got a swim PR!! Looking at my watch later on, I did not get a PR, but instead of swimming .93 miles I swam 1.02 miles. Guess I need to work on swimming straight!

Swim Time: 28:42

The transition from the swim to bike was about a quarter of a mile. I ran confidentially up the path while ripping off my cap and goggles, quickly transitioned and set out on my awesome bike!

T1: 2:16

The first 10 miles of the bike course was filled with hills. There was a 29 year old guy that I kept going back and forth with, but I passed him for good at around mile 9. There weren’t many people around, but I managed to catch one female in the first few miles. I kept focus and pushed hard on the bike. I am slowly getting over my fear of picking up speed on the downhills, and my max speed was 35 mphs!  The volunteers were awesome, and I didn’t miss any turns. I got lost last year at the Columbia Tri and did an extra 4 miles, so I always fear doing it again!

Bike Time: 1:13:05 (Averaged 20.3 mph)

I came into the transition area and they announced I was the first female back from the bike from my swim wave. Hooray! 

I have been trying to improve my transition times, but I realized that it just takes race experience. It also depends on the size of the transition area. Today marked my 12th triathlon, and I think I finally got it! I just bought a pair of Newton racing flats, and raced in them for the first time today! I was able to slip them on pretty quickly, throw on my visor and head out for what would be a HOT run!

T2: 58 seconds 🙂

Now onto the run. I started off pretty slow to allow my legs to wake up. Doing brick workouts has really helped, and my legs don’t feel like they used to last year! About a mile in a girl from my age group passed me. I just couldn’t keep up, and thought to myself “who cares, run your own race.” I could have maybe pushed super hard to keep up with her, but then I run the risk of crashing and burning out a few miles later. 

I thought this course was flat, I thought to myself going up a pretty large hill! I kept calm and collected and watched my HR go higher and my average pace drop. I was able to pick up some speed on the downhill portions. I rocked out my signature yellow sunglasses today, and got comments from the volunteers on the run. I was hoping to pick up speed after that first hill, but I just couldn’t go any faster! I was telling my legs to go faster, but it just wasn’t happening!

I tried to dig especially deep the last 1.5 miles and caught a few more men, some who cheered me on. I really could not wait to be done, and all I wanted to do was sit in a huge tub of ice! It was HOT and humid out! I ran through the finish chute with good form and a smile, even though I was out of breath and beat up! I finished my 5th triathlon of the season! 🙂 

Run Time: 47:12 (My worst run of the season)

Overall Time: 2:32.21 (My worst time of the season) 1st in my AG and 5th female overall 

I sat in the shade with some other athletes, chugged my water and talked to them about the race. We all agreed that it was hot as hell on the run. Before I knew it Debi had finished the race, we walked down to the water where it was cooler and caught up about the race. We jumped in the water which was SO refreshing! 

When the results were posted, I saw that I was 5th overall and Debi beat me by .10 seconds. Pretty crazy!!! 

I learned today that every race is really different depending on the weather conditions and course, and that I can’t beat myself up over a bad time. Just two weeks ago I ran a 42 minute 10k at Rev 3 Williamsburg, so I know I can do it again! I also need to loosen the elastic shoe laces on my new racing flats, they felt really tight and I got some new blisters! The joy of being a runner, more blisters! 🙂

I leave for Israel on Wednesday July 10th, and my race is July 26th. Follow me on twitter @trihardblog for updates on my travels!

Thanks to District Hardware – The Bike Shop for the last minute repairs and for being so supportive! I love my Quintana Roo bike!  Also big shout out to the Super Athletes, the hills on this course were nothing compared to what we did at Skyline last weekend! Lastly, thanks to Coach Debi! I’ve improved this season, due to your awesome training! I’m glad we could race together today! 

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1st in my age group and 5th overall female! A good day 🙂

Training slower to race faster- Does it really work??

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Pikes Peak 10k this year!!

I came across this article the other day, and I can REALLY relate to it.

Prior to January, I was running hard almost every other day. The thought of running slow in training was crazy! I thought, how will running slow really benefit me? The goal is to get faster.. right????

I started training with a new coach in January, Debi Bernardes and was very open to new approach to my training. Something had to change because I was starting to feel burnt out. I started training by using a heart rate monitor, and I absolutely love it! It allows me to run slow to recover, build up my endurance, and throw in intervals at a higher heart rate. Had I not switched over to this type of training, I would have definitely been injured by now!

Using this way to train has really benefited me, and has also brought back the joy of running! Prior to using my heart rate, I was overly concerned with my pace on every run and would get disappointed in myself if I had a bad day.

Not only has it made me a happier runner and athlete, but my times have also improved!

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler April 2012: 1:17:30 (7:45/mile)

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler April 2013: 1:10:40 (7:04/mile)

Pikes Peak 10k 2012: 46:50 (7:32/mile)

Pike Peak 10k 2013: 41:06  (6:36/mile)

I can’t wait to see more improvements and set some new PR’s! 🙂